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Since its publication in 1982, The Color Purple has polarized critics and generated controversy while delighting many readers around the world. Rachel Lister offers a clear, stimulating and wide-ranging exploration of the critical history of Alice Walker's best-selling novel, from contemporary reviews through to twenty-first-century readings. This Reader's Guide: * opens with an overview of Walker's work * provides a detailed consideration of the conception and reception of The Color Purple * examines coverage of key critical issues and debates such as Walker's use of generic conventions, linguistic and narrative strategies, race, class, gender and sexual politics * covers the reception and cultural impact of cinematic and musical adaptations, including Steven Spielberg's 1985 film and the recent Broadway production. Lively and insightful, this is an indispensable volume for anyone studying, or simply interested in, Alice Walker and her most famous work.